03 December 2016

News Report: Scorpene Data Leak: India-France Joint Group to Consider Changes

The 1st Indian Scorpene class Submarine before launch
India is going ahead with the commissioning of its Scorpene submarines despite a data leak about its generic features.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – India is putting up a brave front on the leak of data about Scorpene submarines but will set up a joint committee with France to consider changes if any of the configurations have been compromised.

“We will see if have to make changes on the platforms. But the leaked data dates to the pre-2010 period. It does not have details on the armament. There is no critical leak," Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media on Friday. 

News Report: US, Swedish Aviation Majors Offer Technology Transfer to Bag Indian Jet Tender

Lockheed Martin F-16IN originally offered for the MMRCA Program
Two of world's major military aviation companies have sweetened the terms for making combat jets in India. The Government expects response from Russian companies too.

New Delhi (Sputnik): India has received proposals from two foreign companies within two months of asking countries like the US, Sweden and Russia to locally build a fighter under a generous technology transfer (ToT) arrangement. 

The winner will bag the right to sell the fighters to India for several decades as the Indian Air Force seeks to build 42 active squadrons. 

News Report: Indian Navy Increases Vigil as China Deploys Nuclear Submarine in Pak Waters

China’s naval wooing of India’s neighbors has compelled the Indian Navy to step up vigilance of its maritime domain. As of now the Indian Navy is sanguine about monitoring Chinese naval activity on both its oceanic flanks.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Navy has geared up for heightened Chinese activity in the oceans around its territorial waters. 

"We have the capability and assets to take on any force which is deployed, and if and when this happens, we have plans in place to tackle it. PLA nuclear submarine was deployed and did a port call at Karachi. As far as deployment of PLA navy, ships and submarines are concerned, we keep a close eye and monitor their movement," says Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

This is for the first time a senior Indian defense official has mentioned activity by a Chinese submarine near its western coast.

News Report: In Break With Policy, Trump Speaks to Taiwan President

President-elect Donald Trump made several phone calls to world leaders on Friday, most notably Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that breaks decades of policy and one that could risk raising tensions with China even before Trump takes office.

The call is believed to be the first such contact between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese leader since the United States broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979.

While there was no immediate response from China, the call would likely anger the nation. China considers Taiwan as part of the large communist nation, while Taiwan's government says itself a sovereign nation.

A statement released by the Trump transition team said Tsai congratulated Trump on his election win and he congratulated her on her win earlier this year.

The transition statement said the two noted the close economic, political and security relationship between the two countries.

The White House was not told about the call until after it happened, a senior administration official told The New York Times.

News Report: Philippine Leader Suggests Talks With Violent Muslim Rebels

Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to negotiate with two of his country’s most violent Muslim rebel groups after months of military strikes, making his strategy for ending a complex 45-year conflict unclear despite pledges to settle it.

In a recent speech, Duterte called for negotiations with Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group, another Muslim separatist camp in the country’s southwestern corner.

In August, after a month in office, the president, known as a strict crime fighter, told police and the armed forces to “seek them out in their lairs and destroy” Abu Sayyaf, a group of about 400 people often described as a ransom-seeking business organization.

News Report: Indonesian Muslims Protest Christian Governor

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Indonesia's capital to demand the arrest of Jakarta's governor.

Officials say more than 20,000 security forces have been deployed to insure the demonstration against Basuki Tjahaja Purnam does not become violent like a demonstration against him last month.

Basuki, a Christian who is known as Ahok, is seeking re-election as Jakarta's governor in February. He is being prosecuted for blasphemy. The charges stem from a comment he made on the campaign trail earlier this year when he dismissed his political opponents who had cited a verse in the Quran that warns against Muslims supporting non-believers.

Ahok has since apologized and said he never intended to cause offense, but it has done little to placate many Muslims who are enraged that a majority Muslim city is administered by a Christian.

Ahok is Jakarta's first Christian governor in half a century. He is also the first ethnic Chinese to hold the governor's post.

The November 4 demonstration drew 100,000 protesters. The rally descended into violence at night fall, killing one person and injuring dozens more.

Critics say the central government, led by President Joko Widodo, has not done enough to face down radical Muslims groups and that hatred and bigotry are being allowed to grow.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: South Korea, Japan Add to Sanctions on North Korea

WASHINGTON — South Korea and Japan have imposed unilateral sanctions on their nuclear-armed neighbor, North Korea.

The announcement of the sanctions Friday followed Pyongyang’s promise to retaliate against new U.N. sanctions imposed earlier this week.

South Korea and Japan had sanctions in place against North Korea. The new sanctions, however, are mainly symbolic, because trade and exchange between the North and its two neighbors are largely nonexistent thanks to existing sanctions, especially those imposed by the United Nations.

But North Korea’s latest round of nuclear tests has prompted its neighbors to announce the new restrictions.

News Story: Afghan Peace, Stability To Top Agenda at Heart of Asia Summit

Istanbul Process/Heart of Asia Summit
by Sayed Tariq Majidi

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Friday that the issue of peace and stability in Afghanistan will dominate the agenda of the 6th Heart of Asia Conference scheduled to be held in Amritsar, in India on Saturday.

Delegations from 40 nations, along with regional and international organizations are set to attend the key summit amid the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

MoFA deputy spokesman Khairuallah Azad stated Friday that the summit would help deal with the ongoing crisis in the region particularly the war against terrorism and militancy.

"The Heart of Asia conference where Afghanistan will be on top of the agenda provides an appropriate platform for regional countries to discuss the regional problems, insecurity and terrorism. At the sidelines of the summit, Afghan officials will also hold bilateral and multilateral talks with officials from other countries," said Azad.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has confirmed that Sartaj Aziz advisor to the prime minster on foreign relations will attend.

"India has been instrumental in scuttling the SAARC summit, and Pakistan despite all negativity of India is going to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference," the foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a weekly press briefing.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Badakhshan To Be Cleared Of Insurgents In Winter

by Nematullah Ahmadi

Security officials in Badakhshan on Friday said they will launch a large-scale military operation to eliminate insurgents in the northeastern province in the upcoming winter season.

"We have prepared plans for military operations. We will clear 90 percent of Badakhshan of insurgents in the next three months," said Gul Mohammad Bedar, deputy governor of the province.

Meanwhile, Security chief of Badakhshan's Police Headquarters, Mohammad Nabi Bayan, said the coming winter season is a good opportunity to eradicate militants.

"The upcoming winter [season] is a good time for launching military operation. We will carry out a large-scale military operation to clear the province of terrorists. Insurgents cannot stand against security forces in the province," he said.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Sri Lankan president calls for unity, reconciliation

COLOMBO, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena called on parties and scholars Friday to join in the efforts to strengthen reconciliation and support the new constitution to solve issues in the island nation.

"If we cannot strengthen reconciliation among all communities it is a massive disaster," President Sirisena said.

"The root cause of many of the wars, conflicts and bloodshed in world history has been mostly language, religious, racial and cast differences."

He said that politicians attempting to become "so-called patriots and heroes" have never attempted to find solutions to genuine issues of the people.

Read the full story at Xinhua